Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Every year in late October I sit down with my writing calendar for the upcoming year and map out my schedule: due dates, book releases, conferences, classes, etc. This becomes the backbone of my plan for the year. From that, I decide when to work on a new project, when to polish existing stories. I’ve begun working on that for 2014 and had a moment of reflection remembering the same undertaking this time last year.

I had big plans for my writing in 2013. Jotting down deadlines, release dates, conferences, all the things on my radar for this year, I was both excited and a little overwhelmed. But mostly excited. It would be a lot of work, I realized that, but boy was it going to pay off. I had done my homework, I knew what to expect, what to anticipate, and I was ready. This was going to be my year!

Looking back, I can’t help a sigh and a very real drop of my heart. This has been a hard year in so many ways. I’ve struggled with a new and debilitating chronic illness, one that will be with me the rest of my life. Conferences that I had attended and loved in the past were extremely hard for me this year; I even had to miss some of them. The deadlines seemed to pile up, all coming at once in one crushing wave after another. Many of the amazing things I anticipated happening in my career this year didn’t happen--some of those things couldn't happen, some simply didn't.

I had planned to reach the end of this year high five-ing myself for a job well done and looking forward to another shiny and dreamy year. But here I am. Tired. A little discouraged. Trying to face another year with the weight of uncertainty and setbacks heavy on my shoulders. The sudden arrival of RA changed a lot of things. Circumstances outside of my control changed still more things I'd been looking forward to. It's hard to push on, to pick up the pieces of shattered hopes and find a way to make new dreams out of them.

So I had a little talk with myself the other day. I gave myself a figurative hug, acknowledging that the path I’ve walked these past months has been a difficult one and that discouragement and worry and disappointment are to be expected. I promised not to beat myself up over it but also to not dwell on it.

I’ve begun making a list, not of the disappointments (I’m acutely aware of those—no list needed), but of those things that worked out better than I’d hoped, of the things I’d anticipated that did come about, of the tiny victories in the midst of an overwhelming battle. I’m taking time each day to remind myself that, though so many things went wrong, quite a few things went right.

I’ve started the task of filling out next year’s schedule with those deadlines and commitments that are firmly set. I have set myself to the modest task of completing one new novel. But outside of that I have only given myself one expectation, one goal: to keep going.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Samuel Beckett. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Knowing how many things fell apart this past year, I am struggling to get myself going for next year. What if it falls apart again? Falls apart worse? What if nothing goes the way I hope it will? It’s a very real worry, one that can be paralyzing at times, one I think we all deal with from time to time. So I repeat this mantra. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Maybe it’ll be another disappointing year. Maybe it’ll be even harder than this one. But maybe it will be better. No matter what comes, I plan to tackle it. It’ll try, and maybe I’ll fail. But if I do, I’m going to fail even better than before. And then I'll try again. Because as long as I keep going no failure is ever final.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Longing for Home, Book 2: Hope Springs

All is not well in Wyoming. Katie Macauley gave up her life-long dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, but her future has never been so uncertain. The town is more divided than ever, with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives.

Katie’s heart remains sharply divided between her love for playful Tavish and steady Joseph, a decision she feels ill-prepared to make. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.

Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will it be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

Coming March 4, 2014

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Heroes & Heartbreakers is hosting the official, exclusive cover reveal of the sequel to Longing for Home...Hope Springs. Head on over and check it out!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

As You Are

A horse breeder by trade, Corbin Jonquil is more at home in the stables than in the ballroom of his sprawling estate. Corbin is the quietest of the Jonquil brothers and has always faded into the background, contentedly unnoticed. When a mysterious young widow, Mrs. Clara Bentford, moves into the neighborhood, however, Corbin quickly comes to realize that being noticed has its advantages. But how to catch the eye of the lady? According to his brothers, Corbin need only make a few simple changes to transform himself into the object of any woman’s desire—dubious advice, indeed. Following a series of misadventures, Corbin and Clara slowly lower the facades behind which they’ve been hiding, leaving Corbin shocked by the horrors that haunt the woman he’s coming to care for so ardently. When the menace of Clara’s past threatens to tear them apart and tensions mount, will the couple have the courage to fight for the promise of forever?

Monday, October 14, 2013

What a great response to this giveaway (and I walked away with a TON of Halloween costume ideas!). Using random.org, I have randomly selected a winner from amongst all the entries, and the copy of An Unlikely Match goes to...

Heather Lynn (who commented over on my Facebook page)

This was tons of fun! I have at least one more giveaway in the works. And, if you haven't yet heard about "The Proper Romance Tour," (the lovely Julianne Donaldson, author of Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, and I are doing a signing tour together) coming up in November and December of this year, there is more info HERE.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Y'all ready for another giveaway? I thought so. This time, we're keeping it super-duper simple.

I'm giving away a signed copy of my book, An Unlikely Match. This "ghost story" romance is set in Wales in the early 1800s on the grounds of a haunted estate against the backdrop of the ancient Welsh holiday of Nos Galan Gaeaf (October 31st--see the Halloween connection??) a night of ghosts, graveyards, and phantom sows that eat children.

So, here's the easy-peasy way to enter:
  • Leave a comment here on this blog post, and/or on the facebook post linked HERE telling me your favorite halloween costume from your own halloween past, your children's halloween past, your imaginary halloweens past, etc.
  • Each comment is an entry.
  • Enter as many times as you'd like.
  • Contest closes Sunday night at 11:59pm.
  • Contest open to US & Canada.
  • On Monday morning (10/14/2013), I'll randomly select a winner from amongst all the entries.

It's really that simple!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One of my favorite things about writing Longing for Home was the chance to celebrate my love of traditional Irish music. I was able to include, by name, many of my favorite traditional tunes. Every one that is mentioned in the book is a real tune that was in existence in 1870.

I thought, perhaps, you would enjoy a chance to hear a few of them.

Mentioned during Katie's first trip out to the river to play in the evening...

"Reel du Goglu"

"After the Sun Goes Down"


"Paddy McFadden" (a tune originating in Scotland, where it was called "Hills of Glen Orchy," upon crossing the Irish Sea into the Ulster Region of Ireland took on the name "Paddy McFadden")

 When Katie first plays her fiddle at the céilí...

"The Donegal Reel" (her first song, the one that stops the party in its tracks)


"The Dear Irish Boy" (the song she ends with, which Tavish says broke everyone's heart)

The tune Katie plays in memory of her father, "Ar Eirinn"
(the Irish verse is the original lyrics, though the English translation that follows isn't exact... still, a lovely, lovely rendition)

There are a ton more mentioned in Longing for Home, all of them real and authentic. Perhaps I'll do another installment down the road. And there are quite a few in the sequel, Hope Springs. We could be at this for a long time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I am so overwhelmed and humbled and touched by the response to the "Tell a Friend" giveaway. When I first came up with the idea, I told my husband I thought I might--might--get 50 entries, and that would be pretty cool. By the time the contest closed, there were over 100.

I'm not sure how to explain just how much it means to an author to have readers enjoy her work enough to recommend it personally to others. I know that, in doing that, you are trusting me to keep putting out books that you can feel good about having steered your friends and family toward. I don't take that lightly.

I wish I could somehow personally thank each and every one of you who has recommended my books, whether in person or via a review or in your social media. Please know that I am deeply, deeply grateful for it.

Now, using the wonderful tool that is random.org, I have selected from amongst all the comments a winner for the fabulous giveaway prize: a cute bag, a "Live in Hope" journal, and a signed copy of the winner's choice of any one of my books. And the winner is...

ashley. (who was introduced to my books by Karen Hodges) 
If you will shoot me off an email via the contact link at the top of the page, I'll get that prize off to you as soon as possible!

Thank you again to everyone who entered, to everyone who has supported my books, and for the many, many words of encouragement I have received.

There will be another giveaway on the blog in the next few days!!



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